Ocon: Alpine F1 car upgrade made Japan GP 'pure fun'

Ocon: Alpine F1 car upgrade made Japan GP ‘pure fun’

Alpine introduced the heavily revised floor in Singapore knowing that any gain would not necessarily be maximized on the bumpy street track.

The early debut at least allowed the team to learn about the update and get the most out of it at Suzuka, a track with the kind of fast corners where it was supposed to provide a clear advantage.

With Ocon taking fourth, Alpine’s best result of the season and teammate Fernando Alonso in seventh after losing to Sebastian Vettel at the checkered flag, Alpine reclaimed fourth place in the F1 constructors’ world rankings McLaren seven points with four races remaining.

“I think it was a matter of time before we could really show what the car was capable of,” said Ocon when asked by Motorsport.com about the benefits of the car’s new floor. “We were able to do it this weekend in general – we were quick in all conditions.

“It was brilliant. It was a pure pleasure to drive this car in qualifying yesterday and in the race. A few points to review, but we scored, which was important.”

Ocon had a busy run, spending most of it defending the mercedes of Lewis Hamiltonwhile trying to manage its intermediate tires.

“It was definitely tough,” he said. “I was looking more behind than ahead in this run. We knew it would be tough to keep the Mercs behind. But we did.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport pictures

“So very, very happy. It didn’t seem like there were any points from the start with the conditions, but in the end I think it’s a good afternoon for us.”

Speaking after the team’s strong performance in qualifying at Suzuka, when Ocon finished fifth on the grid and Alonso took seventh, the Spanish driver said the car was as good as it had been all season, citing the Belgian GP as a previous highlight.

“I think this one and Spa,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com if the updated car was the year’s best. “You could say that the two circuits are quite similar in terms of efficiency.

“Spa and Suzuka were our best weekends so far in terms of performance. We have to see what is behind this result.

“The car felt good all weekend so I don’t know if it’s the floor we introduced in Singapore or not, but we haven’t had any issues. We look competitive.”

Regarding the fight with McLaren, he said: “I think Singapore stood out because it was a big loss of points there. But I think it’s going to be very, very close until Abu Dhabi.”

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